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The Stories of John Cheever Paperback – May 16, 2000
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Though these stories deal with bright, prosperous, ostensibly happy people, a cold wind blows through them. Age, illness, financial embarrassment, sex, alcohol, death--all of these threaten his suburban Eden. (Is it himself Cheever is mocking in his ironic "The Worm in the Apple"? "Everyone in the community with wandering hands had given them both a try but they had been put off. What was the source of this constancy? Were they frightened? Were they prudish? Were they monogamous? What was at the bottom of this appearance of happiness?") Inanimate objects carry the residue of their past owners' unhappiness and cruelty ("Seaside Houses," "The Lowboy"); expatriates long for but cannot quite find their way home ("The Woman Without A Country," "Boy in Rome"); children vanish or turn out badly (too many stories to count).
All of this is conveyed in prose both graceful and tender. No one is better than Cheever at describing a character's appearance: "He was a cheerful, heavy man with a round face that looked exactly like a pudding. Everyone was glad to see him, as one is glad to see, at the end of a meal, the appearance of a bland, fragrant, and nourishing dish made of fresh eggs, nutmeg, and country cream." Given his uncanny eye (and ear) for realistic description, it's easy to forget how experimental Cheever could be. His later stories pioneered authorial intrusions in the best postmodern style, and from the beginning, he wrote what would much later be called magical realism. (Think of the sinister broadcasts in "The Enormous Radio," or the phantom love interest in "The Chimera.") A literary event at its publication and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, The Stories of John Cheever remains a stunning and enormously influential book. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"As stories go, as compellingly readable narratives of a certainsort of people in a certain time and place—our time and place—John Cheever's stories are, simply, the best." —The Washington Post
"Profound and daring...some of the most wonderful stories any American has written." —The Boston Globe
"Not merely the publishing event of the 'season' but a grand occasion in English literature." —The New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
Then they read the stories: "Goodbye, My Brother", "The Swimmer", "The Enormous Radio"... And the discussions are as lively as any instructor could hope for.
And their excitement reminds me over and again of the thrill I had reading these stories for the first time. (I'm almost jealous of my students--I miss that first time pleasure.) These are stories perfect in their craftsmanship, memorable in their characters, and decidedly superior to anything of his time, and just about anything since. Pick up this collection and enjoy.
College of New Rochelle
But you don't have take my word for it.Read more ›
His tales almost always start off with a good and/or arresting start, and his ends are also usually quite deft. The middle sometimes sag, in even the best tales, not because of length, but because the tales are so dependent upon their extreme supports....Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In most cases the leading characters are ordinary people and the events chronicled are typical of ordinary life. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Sidney Weber
Depends on your appetite for character studies of mid-20th century white, middle class New Yorkers. Mine was sated after about twenty stories, and I think I had a lot more to go to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alex Leaf
A friend lent me this book. I confess that it took me awhile to warm up to these stories. According to a forward by the author these stories are in the book in the chronological... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Francis C. Donnelly
First let me admit that I only read about 2/3rds of this book. Second, let me say that in spite of what you read for here out, I’m glad to have read these stories. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cassandra Smallwood